SUKKUR: With facts and figures in hand, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) President Dr Samrina Hashmi came hard at the government for “failing miserably to protect the lives and properties of doctors”.
At a press conference in Larkana on Saturday, Hashmi said that eight renowned doctors have been kidnapped during this year. Four out of the eight were rescued while the kidnapped neurosurgeon Dr Aftab Qureshi was killed during the operation launched by the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) and police.
Hashmi blamed the incapability and wrong strategy on part of the police and CPLC for Qureshi’s murder.
Expressing her anxiety over lawlessness in the country, she said that so far more than 4,000 doctors have left Pakistan while many others have closed their hospitals and clinics.
“They [doctors in Karachi] have to pay bhatta to live in peace as the extortionists threaten to either kidnap them or kill them,” claimed Hashmi.
“The Sindh IG has formed a two-member committee, including AIG and CID in charge Khurram Rasool, who can be contacted by the doctors in case of any threat or other such problems,” she said, while informing the media about her meeting with the IG.
She also demanded that the government deploy Rangers outside hospitals because “police is not doing its job properly.”
Matters of promotions
Talking about the medical fraternity’s problems, the PMA president complained that promotions of doctors were delayed for more than 19 years. Due to the association’s untiring struggle, a promotion committee was formed and some of the doctors were promoted to higher scales. “But ironically, 11 senior doctors who were waiting for their promotion retired on the 19 pay scale.” Recently more than 140 doctors were promoted but were transferred out of Karachi, she added while criticising the government. She called their transfer a punishment for demanding their rights.
Currently, 3,000 posts of grade 17 medical officers are lying vacant in Sindh which she demanded the government to fill along with recruiting 2,000 additional medical officers to overcome the shortage of doctors.
The PMA secretary general and former director general health, Dr Hadi Bux Jatoi, warned the government that if the missing three doctors are not rescued, doctors throughout Sindh will close their hospitals and clinics. According to the provisions of the budgetary proposals, Jatoi said that 70 per cent of the health budget should be utilised on primary health facilities. “But in Sindh, it is reverse,” alleged Jatoi. “Around 70 per cent of the budget is being used for purchasing machinery, equipments and buildings because kickbacks can be taken out from these.”
Criticising the Peoples Primary Health Initiative (PPHI), he said that funds worth millions of rupees are being usurped through this programme. He went on to say that the PPHI is supplying sub-standard medicines to the health facilities, asking the government to scrap the programme and divert those funds to the health department for primary health care.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2012.